Things the MISBP interns need–or, not

Since we seem to be in a list mode here on the blog lately, I guess I’ll try to tie together a few thoughts for future Interns. I’m sure I have forgotten something, so I might come back with a reflexive comment to myself. Please, add your own thoughts and pretty soon we’ll have a regular FAQ list for next year’s group.

Things I was very glad I brought with me

  • A multi-plug: I got a tiny little AC power splitter that came in very handy. I could charge my camera, video camera, iPhone, and computer all at the same time in my room. Very handy. With everyone carrying lots of gear, there are never enough plugs.
  • Long underwear: I brought one pair of cheapy Uniqlo ski-wear. I wish I’d brought another. When you spend a whole day washing rice and doing stuff in the kura building it gets cold, especially the feet. They kept me warm without having to pile up so many layers of jackets. For anyone with the dreaded lower-back pain, keeping that area warm is a good idea.
  • Flip MinoHD: These are great little cameras. I love mine. I now have hours of video to edit and post to this blog, but someday soon…
  • Things I didn’t really need after all

  • Tripod: I never had time to stand still and set it up. No good place to leave anything anyway.
  • So many socks: I missed the memo about the washing machine.
  • Coffee: After various travels around Japan I have found myself coffee-deprived on enough early mornings that I usually bring a Mon Cafe or a Melitta with me. No need here!
  • Things I wish I had brought

  • Notes: I forgot to bring all of my notes, such as they are, about sake. The evening discussion often turned to other sake (surprise, surprise), and I was sometimes caught trying to remember something I’d had ages ago or something I had learned but forgotten.
  • A tiny voice recorder: I was often way to busy to make notes and there is so much water around that notebooks might not always hold up well. I wish I’d had a little clip-on voice recorder. I tried to make do with my phone now and then, but it wasn’t the same.
  • Camera straps: This is a big one. I was always fishing my Ricoh or my Flip out of one pocket or another. The around-the-neck camera strap is clunky and can be uncomfortable, but I missed shots because I didn’t have the camera handy. You will always have some work you should be doing with your hands, so you can’t just hold the camera all day. Also, we sometimes passed cameras to each other or wanted to get pics of what was happening in the tanks. I was sure I was going to drop my camera in the moromi and then be instantly ejected from the kura. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but it very easily could. Put a strap on that camera and you can relax.
  • Storage: We all took a ton of pictures. I wish I’d cleared out my laptop hard drive before I came so I had more room. Extra memory cards are not a bad idea either. If you use SD, you can get an extra 1GB at the Family Mart down the road for about ¥2,000.
  • What did you forget? What did I forget? What should the next session bring along? I know there is something. Fire away with your comments.

    1. #1 by PatriciaYarrow on March 20th, 2009 - 5:28 pm

      Great post Ted, and just as I am packing up.
      I’m bringing:
      – a little laptop.
      – My digital camera with memory sticks can empty into the laptop.
      – my Casio EX-word xd-gp9700. Will someone help me learn how to use it well?
      – Extra sturdy bags in case I buy too much sake (is that possible?)…,
      – keitai and charger.
      – business cards/meishi.

      On the laptop I’m bundling:
      – all the material from Mukune
      – the forum/blog
      – my thesis (on sake labels)
      – sake information and vocabulary
      – website downloads about the sake making process.
      – 10 Balancecup kuriimu chizu biscuit sandos for snacks
      – packets of instant cappachino
      – packets of green tea.

      It’s the Girl Scout in me, I guess. Hope this helps other packers.
      /patricia yarrow TeaMU #3

    2. #2 by Vinod V on March 21st, 2009 - 12:50 am

      Egg Dog. Ted, tell them about the Family Mart Egg Dog section. It is critical.

    3. #3 by Ted on March 21st, 2009 - 10:24 pm

      @ PatriciaYarrow
      Hi Patricia,

      Sounds like you’ve got it all covered, which is just as well since you are starting tomorrow or Monday. As far as buying too much sake goes, for the Japan group it is really easy to just send it home. I made an order at the Daimon Shuzo offices and had all of my omiyage sent by takkyuubin to arrive at my my home the morning after I did. Worked perfectly, as usual for takkyuubin.

      Have fun!

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